I handed a glass of apple ale to Niki. My daughter took a sip and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask…would you like to have a kitten? My neighbors across the road have a mama cat with a litter. They’re giving away the babies.”
Sitting down at the dining room table, I shook my head. “Kittens are fun, but I own a fat, crabby old cat that doesn’t even like the other cat who lives here. That mean old biddy would have a hissy-fit, or as some people would put it, she’d have a kitten, if I brought home another cat!”
Niki persuaded, “Jonah will be fine. She keeps to herself. You said Louie loved Basil, your last kitten.”
“You’ve just mentioned the main reason I don’t want another kitten.” I sadly pointed out, “Basil slipped out of the house one night and I couldn’t get him to come back in. Because that had happened once before and everything worked out, I didn’t worry. Do you remember what happened that night? Basil was hit by a car and died. I’m afraid of having that happen again.”
“You’ve had cats ever since you moved to this house thirty-nine years ago.” Niki protested, “Basil was the only one that has ever got on the road and hit by a car!” Continue reading
I didn’t bounce into the kitchen talking a mile a minute as would be usual. I quietly took my place at the family supper table, slipping between my sisters, Mary and Betty. Mom had made one of my favorite suppers; a Spanish rice and hamburger casserole we called, ‘hungry man’s delight’.
Handing me a slice of buttered homemade bread, Mom questioned, “Is that loose tooth bothering you?” I nodded. The tooth was very loose. It didn’t take much to make the tooth wobble. Every time it wobbled, it hurt. Sometimes it even bled.
My brother Billy suggested, “You should pull it out so it stops hurting.”
I gave him a reproachful look. Pulling out a tooth hurt. This tooth already hurt, so the idea of pulling it out horrified me.
Mom stewed half to herself, “I’m worried that she’ll accidently swallow it here at supper, or during the night while asleep!” Sucking on a small chunk of buttered bread, I nearly choked. I was already a worry-wart, so I didn’t need Mom’s vision of terrible things to add to my fear! Continue reading
Gemma, my five-year-old granddaughter, held up a picture she had drawn, proudly explaining, “See, Grandma? Here is a flower and a heart and a person…” I leaned forward and looked at her picture and praised her work.
From the other side of the dining room table, Niki, her mother looked up from a cookbook she was studying. She said, “I’m taking the kids to Farm Technology Days this week. Do you want to join us?”
Remembering past visits I’d made to this yearly farm show, I eagerly accepted the invitation. “Sure. Hopefully it won’t be too hot the day we’re there. One year I felt completely baked by the time we went home. I want to go to the women’s tent first. They put on cooking shows and have dozens of information booths.”
My daughter smiled and admitted, “The thing I want to see on the day we’re going is someone carving cheese.” Three of my young grandsons who were listening to our conversation all chimed in saying how they wanted to see the cheese carving, too.
I laughed and teased, “Maybe you just want to be there to eat the cheese shavings.” Continue reading
I leaned back in my chair at the dining room table. Blaise, the last of the children to finish eating, stood up and proudly, forcefully burped. My daughter Niki admonished him, “Blaise, what do you say when you burp?”
Grinning, the dimpled three-year-old patted his belly and ran into the living room to join his brothers and sisters watching the ‘Incredibles’.
I suggested to my daughter, “Let’s share a bottle of Redd apple ale for dessert.” After dividing a bottle between two wine glasses, I sat down and confided, “I’ve been wondering if I should trade in my car for a new one before its value drops.”
My conversation with Niki quickly faded from memory until a deer jumped in front of my 2013 Chevrolet Equinox while driving home from my sister’s, on June 22nd. Instantly, I knew my car had transitioned from a good trade-in, to a worthless piece of junk. Fixing it would cost more than it was worth. Fortunately, a fair settlement came quickly and without quibbling from the car insurance company. Continue reading
Cresting the hill, I glanced at the clear sky above the western horizon. Purple and salmon-colored jet contrails, stained by the setting sun, crisscrossed above. They looked like random brush strokes on a canvas. Passing the cheese factory two miles from my house, I scanned the highway in front of me. It was clear all the way to the base of the hill where a small bridge spanned a creek.
A field of corn lay to my right and hay to my left. Although the weeds beside the road had been mowed, the ditches were filled with tall grasses. I had spent a pleasant evening with Agnes and Jim, my sister and brother-in-law. Now, as I returned home, I regretfully thought about the empty house waiting for me.
Most events in our lives take place one ‘screen-shot’ at a time. Suddenly that rule was suspended when I saw a tawny-colored blur leap in front of my car, felt a thud, the airbag in my steering wheel both blew up in my face and immediately collapsed as I stepped on the brake. I knew what had happened, wished it hadn’t, and accepted that I had to deal with the consequences. Continue reading